The ethics violations continue to pile up for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and while Trump has reaffirmed his support for the embattled official, today’s development may finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Last week, Pruitt made headlines after news broke that he attempted to subvert the will of the White House and give two staffers – and friends from Oklahoma – raises of as much as $56,765. During a Fox News interview, Pruitt vehemently denied any knowledge of the raises.
However, an e-mail exchange between one of the aides who received the raise and the agency’s human resources department suggests otherwise. According to The Atlantic, Sarah Greenwalt, senior counsel to Pruitt and recipient of the $56,765 raise, wrote an e-mail to HR confirming that her raise was being processed.
Per one official with knowledge of the exchange, Greenwalt “definitively stated that Pruitt approved and was supportive of her getting a raise.” Another official corroborated the claim, saying that the e-mail “essentially says, ‘The administrator said that I should get this raise.’”
Pruitt is currently under investigation by the EPA’s Inspector General regarding whether he abused his hiring authority by using a little-known measure, the Safe Drinking Water Act, to grant the $28,130 and $56,765 raises after the White House denied the requests. The authority – which was initially intended to relieve stressed offices and enable the EPA to hire necessary experts – allowed Pruitt to circumvent the White House and approve the raises anyway.
It’s especially disappointing that Pruitt would exploit a measure put in place to promote the EPA’s necessary mission to reward those intent on destroying it. However, it was only a matter of time before his shameless barrage of lies finally caught up with him.